Have you ever wondered whether or not you can tow your pontoon boat with the cover on it? Maybe you’re just needing to transport it a short distance, or maybe you’re planning on towing it across your state to your summer vacation spot? Either way, it’s important to know if it’s okay!
The quick answer is Yes… you can definitely tow your pontoon boat (or any boat) with the cover on. However, there are a few things that you need to be aware of in order to do it safely, as well as ensure that your pontoon boat cover doesn’t get damaged in the process. This includes making sure it’s the correct size cover, you have enough straps to keep it secure, and also that you have a cover that’s specifically made for towing.
So now that you know that it’s possible, keep reading to find out how to do it right!
Why Tow Your Pontoon Boat With a Cover
So now that you know that you can indeed tow your pontoon boat with the cover on, let’s talk about why you may want to tow with the cover on in the first place as opposed to towing it with the cover off.
First, as you may know boat covers are a pain in the but to take off and put back on! So if you are only needing to tow it several miles to a new storage location, etc, then I highly suggest that you just leave it on. As long as you have it reasonably secure and are not traveling at high speeds, you should be perfectly fine.
The real debate as to whether or not to leave your cover on when towing is when you are planning on traveling for long distances and on major highways (freeways).
With that being said, if you can ensure that you can do it safely, then I recommend that you keep your cover on when towing and here’s why:
- Keeping the cover on will protect your boat from bugs and other debris that could be damaging to its interior.
- By keeping the cover on, you can basically use your boat as an additional means of storing gear, luggage, coolers, etc.
- If you secure the cover correctly, it will help to make your boat more aerodynamic, which can help with towing as well as gas mileage.
- Finally, if you are not planning on using your boat when you arrive at your destination, you save yourself the headache of having to put the cover back on the boat.
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In the world of boat covers, you basically have three choices. You have custom, semi custom, and universal covers.
Custom and semi-custom covers will usually state that they are approved for trailering due to their custom fit, not to mention that they are usually made of stronger materials that are meant to handle the elements, including strong winds.
You’ll also find some universal boat cover brands claiming that their covers are trailerable, but I would be very leery of their claims.
If you plan on towing your pontoon boat for long distances, you really need to think about getting a custom fit boat cover that’s made just for your boat. This will ensure that you get the snug fit that you just can’t get with a semi-custom and universal cover.
While a custom boat cover will definitely cost you more money than their counterparts, it’s well worth the money, especially if you want to tow your boat with the cover on.
Your next best option is a semi-custom boat cover. While these types of covers are not custom made for your boat, they are custom made for the type of boat that you have and usually come in 1ft increments. They won’t give you the snug fit that a custom cover will, but they will fit much tighter than a universal boat cover. A good brand to check out is Taylor Made boat covers!
A universal cover is made to fit a wide range of boat types and sizes, including 20 ft center consoles, as well as 24 foot pontoon boats. They typically come in 2-4 foot increments in length and are large and baggy, making them a poor choice for trailering your pontoon boat over long distances.
However, if this is the type of boat cover that you are looking for, make sure to check out another article of mine where I discuss the best pontoon boat covers.
Safety is Always First
Whether you’re towing your boat with the cover on or off, it’s always important to do it safely!
This includes making sure that your boat cover is the correct size for your boat.
If your cover is too big or too small, it could slip off a bit and allow air to get under the cover, which could cause it to rip, or worse…the cover could fly off into the path of another vehicle.
If you intend on trailering your boat long distances at high speeds, always buy the correct size cover for your pontoon boat!
You also need to make sure that your cover is secured with plenty of tie-down straps. This does not include your cover’s tie straps for securing it to the trailer when parked.
In addition to these, you need ratchet tie down straps!The brand that I bought and recommend can be found here on Amazon.com.
One thing to keep in mind…when strapping down your boat cover for towing, make sure you’re securing your straps to the trailer itself and not your boat.
I recommend placing a strap every one foot in from the front (bow) and one foot in from the back (stern) of your boat. After that I like to place a strap every 2-3 feet for maximum effectiveness.
Is it Legal to Tow a Boat With The Cover On
I’ve searched everywhere, including online, called boat dealerships, trailer shops, my local dmv, and even asked a Florida HWY Patrol Officer while pumping gas if it was legal to tow a boat with the cover on.
Everyone that I spoke with either said that they really don’t know, or that they’re pretty sure it’s okay. The Hwy patrol officer said that as long as it doesn’t go flying off and cause an accident, that it was okay.
So I guess it’s legal?
Just to be on the safe side, if I were you, I would call your local hwy patrol office and check and see what your state has to say about it.
So now that you know in fact that you can tow your pontoon boat with the cover on, the next thing is to decide if it’s for you or not.
You will find that some boaters feel very strongly about not towing their boats with the cover on, yet some boaters (including myself) feel that it’s perfectly fine as long as you have the right boat cover and secure it properly.
Ultimately the choice is yours!